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Two of the top reasons people give for not exercising regularly include lack of results and lack of time. So, for many people, the best time to exercise is the time that is most convenient and the time that fits into a busy schedule.
However, in general, if you can find a time for exercise that you can stick with consistently, you will be much more likely to train regularly and get better results.
Human sleep and wake cycles follow a daily cycle called circadian rhythms. It's this cycle that regulates our body temperature, blood pressure, alertness and metabolism, among other physiological functions.
The ability to adjust your rhythms is important for athletes training for a specific event. The message is to train at the same time of day that the event will occur. Research supports this advice. Studies show that your ability to maintain exercise intensity will adapt to your training time. Therefore, if you do your marathon training in the morning, you may perform better on race day (marathons typically start in the morning). But if you train in the evening, a morning race day may leave you feeling weaker and slower.
But not everyone can choose to exercise when they feel like it. Work and family commitments often take priority and we end up squeezing in some exercise. If you find that the only time you have to exercise is when you least feel like it, don't despair. As we learned earlier, you can change your rhythms and your body can adapt to a new exercise time. However, it may take about a month to reset your internal exercise clock.
While there is specific research being conducted on this topic, unfortunately the answer to the question, "What is the best time for exercise?" varies based upon the specific question you ask, your training goals, and your exercise adherence. Here are some of the latest specific research findings:
-Late Afternoon is Best for Exercise
Research shows that the optimal time to exercise is when our body temperature is at its highest, which, for most people is 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (body temperature is at its lowest just before waking).
-Strength is Greater in the Afternoon
Dr. Hill reported that strength output is 5% higher at around mid-day; anaerobic performance, such as sprinting, improves by 5% in the late afternoon.
-Endurance is Greater in the Afternoon
Aerobic capacity (endurance) is approximately 4percent higher in the afternoon.
-Injuries Are Less Likely in the Afternoon
Afternoon exercise is the best if you want to avoid injuries for many reasons. We are most alert; our body temperature is the highest so our muscles are warm and flexible; and our muscle strength is at its greatest. These three factors make it less likely that we will get injured.
-Morning Exercisers Are More Consistent
Even though afternoon exercise might be optimal from a physiological standpoint, research also shows that morning exercisers are more likely to stick to it that late-day athletes.
-Evening Exercise and Sleep
Most research supports the idea that exercise can improve sleep quality. But does exercising too late in the evening keep you up? Studies have shown improvements in sleep from both morning and afternoon exercise, so it's not yet clear if evening exercise keeps you up. One study even showed that vigorous exercise half an hour before bedtime did not affect sleep.
Testosterone is at its daily peak.4
Mental alertness peaks late morning.4
Memory works best.5
Body temperature is still low.
Pain tolerance is highest.3
Possible point of low energy around noon.
Late afternoon, adrenalin and body temperature has a rising trend.4
Late afternoon, there is an optimum period of mental/physical function balance.4
Coordination, stamina, body temperature at a peak.4
Lung performance is best.6
Flexibility and strength at their greatest.7
Mental focus is waning.
Starting around 9pm, the body produces additional melatonin, preparing for sleep.4
Bodily processes should be slowing down in preparation for sleep.
Article: By Tomas Kibisa, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fit-Body/150621204999500?fref=ts